By Nikki Mirala

Over this past summer, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School social studies teacher, Dr. Hogewood, introduced a remarkable program in which high school students were paired up with elementary school students to help and encourage them to continue reading in the midst of a pandemic without regular access to school and educational resources. 

Students got in contact with their partner from Rock Creek Forest Elementary School and set up meetings with one another through Zoom. High school students had the freedom to decide what each meeting looked like and would be focused on which is what B-CC Junior and member of the reading program, Julia Butler, enjoys most about the program, explaining how as a member she is “in charge of scheduling meetings, communicating with my partner, and picking out books that I think they would enjoy.” Some read online books through the “Share Screen” feature on Zoom, while others had their reading partner use books they currently own and read out loud to their partner. After reading, high school students debriefed the book with their partner and critically analysed the text to replicate the type of instruction they would receive in school. 

Julia said that she decided to join B-CC Reading Partners “because I’ve always enjoyed working with younger kids, and I thought this would be a great way to help them with their school skills during such an overwhelming time.” One can only imagine how it feels to be a young child stuck at home in the years essential for the development of social skills and knowledge that in-school learning provides. However, the reading program provides an excellent opportunity for students to receive that same instruction and continue their path of academic success. 

If you’re interested in joining the program or would like more information, please email Dr. Hogewood at Hunter_H_Hogewood@mcpsmd.org.